Opinion – Maria Inês Dolci: Consumer and Judiciary can strengthen the Balzaquian CDC

Opinion – Maria Inês Dolci: Consumer and Judiciary can strengthen the Balzaquian CDC

32 years ago, Brazil took a big step towards the consolidation of democracy and respect for citizenship: on September 11, 1990, the Consumer Defense Code was sanctioned. One of the most advanced consumer legislation in the world, it came into force six months later, in March 1991.

Prepared for the future, the CDC can be even more effective, if consumers know and demand their rights, and if the Judiciary is more agile in judging infringements in consumer relations.

I confess that I have always feared changes in this set of rules that could restrict its scope and effectiveness. Today, I evaluate each modification in particular. For example, the Over-Indebtedness Law was a major advance, which fully justified adjustments to the CDC and the Elderly Statute.

I consider that such achievements were only possible due to the previous existence of the Code. Likewise, the CDC has other institutional ‘children’, such as the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet, LGPD (General Personal Data Protection Law) and the Elderly Statute.

In other situations, however, complementary laws do the trick, such as the SAC Law of 2008, which regulated the CDC and set general rules on Customer Service by telephone. Among other improvements, it practically ended the interminable wait for the consumer to be served and to expose their demand.

This does not mean that all consumer relations problems have been solved. Laws, no matter how good they are, do not extinguish crimes, but provide instruments to curb abuses and disrespect for citizens.

We rely, for example, on the Code to combat crimes against consumers, such as the use of threats, coercion, physical or moral constraint in debt collection. Or sell, keep in storage or expose for sale raw material or merchandise in conditions unsuitable for consumption. Another of these crimes fought by consumer legislation is to make or promote advertising that is known or should be known to be misleading or abusive.

I often demand that consumer education move from good ideas to real life. It would also be essential to promote periodic campaigns to encourage consultation with the CDC, as well as the use of its guarantees and rights to protect disadvantaged consumers, that is, people in an economically vulnerable situation.

Congratulations to all of us for having excellent legislation that ‘catched’!

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